Essential Waterproof Clothing For Women Who Travel

What do these three places – Emei Shan in China, Big Bog on Maui and Debundscha in Cameroon – have in common?

They are among the wettest on the planet and if you go, you’ll need some solid waterproof clothing and rain gear. (Juneau, Bergen and Singapore don’t do too badly either.)

People crossing a bridge in a flood - not all have waterproof clothing
You never know when you might need waterproof clothing…

If you’re heading into occasional rain, chances are you can pick up what you need at your destination. In Milan last weekend, it poured but there was a brisk business with umbrella sales on every street corner.

If you’re bound for the land of downpours, you might consider taking along some of the items below. Then you’ll probably need some kind of rain gear to keep you from getting wet — and staying miserable — on your travels.

Let’s face it, it’s no fun walking around in wet and soggy clothes because you didn’t plan ahead. Unless you brought fast-drying clothes, you might be squishing around for days.

And if you’re sightseeing, you certainly don’t want to let a little (or a lot) of rain keep you from seeing the sights. If you’re prepared, you’ll have no problem walking around Stonehenge in a downpour.

Great rain gear recommendations

Still not sure what rain clothes to take? Here are a few things to think about

Rain coat or winter coat?

If you’re travelling to a cold climate, consider taking a waterproof winter coat instead of a lightweight rain jacket – you’ll need a coat to stay warm anyway. But in any other situation, look for a rain jacket that’s completely waterproof, has a hood and will dry off quickly once you’re out of the downpour. Of course, consider your location: If you’ll be in a city where you can quickly duck into a storefront, maybe a trench coat will be enough, but if you’re hiking a mountainside, you’ll need something durable and resilient.

The perfect poncho

Ponchos are best for those unexpected rainy situations. If the weather report looks positive, a compact one to tuck in the bottom of your bag will do the trick when you go out. They aren’t stylish or particularly durable, but they’ll keep you from soaking through. Look for one made from a thicker plastic or rubber that has a drawstring hood and long “sleeves.”

An umbrella? Maybe, maybe not

It’s worth spending a little more on a good umbrella. We’ve all had – and cursed – the $5 flimsy jobbie that breaks with the first gust of wind. Look for something compact (you don’t want something cumbersome dangling from your arm all day) and that opens and closes easily. An umbrella does take up a spare hand, however, and you might need it to take photographs or hang on to your bag. So if you have a decent coat and hat, consider leaving the umbrella at home. 

These boots…

Even the most compact pair will take up valuable space so unless the weather forecast calls for rain all month, think twice about taking a pair along (and if you do, wear them on the plane so you don’t have to pack them). Foldable is the way to go, and remember to bring some thicker socks or gel insoles. Rain boots are uncomfortable and sweaty.

A rain hat

A good rain hat should ideally have a wide brim and be made from waterproof material. You’ll want something you can fold up easily, and something that stays on your head when it gets windy. A drawstring under your neck will work, as will wearing a hat under your hood for extra protection.

Do you need protection for your luggage?

If you’ve got a carry-on bag, it might already be waterproof. If not, frankly, a good trash bag will get it from A to B without soaking everything inside. If you’re backpacking, that’s a bit different and you’ll need to keep it dry. A drawstring cover is a good option if the seams are protected from rain. 

— Originally published on 12 January 2017


waterproof travel clothes for women pin1
waterproof travel clothes for women pin
waterproof travel clothes for women pin

Have you subscribed yet?
Join 10,000+ other solo travelers over 50 and get your newsletter every other Tuesday, with special goodies in your Inbox!